As I've gotten into cycling, I've come a LONG way from being kind of timid out there on the road, to ... well, to what happened today.
I was on the Very Busy rush-hour jammed University Avenue, which meant that the cars were stacked up from one light to the next. No bike lane, and some parked cars. But there I go, zipping down the right side with literally an inch or two between me and the slowly moving cars (filled with tired, impatient drivers).
At some point, I see that I can't quite fit up ahead because there's a huge double bus and he's over too far to the right. So, without hesitation, I zip in front of the car to my left, which was stopped, with a very ill-conceived plan to ride in the middle of the two lanes until I get to the light up ahead. A couple of car lengths later, I realize even this plan isn't going to work, so I figure I'll ride in the middle of the street between my two lanes and the on-coming two lanes. I know, really dumb.
So I try to cut in front of yet another stopped car, and nearly wipe out taking the turn too fast. But I make it, and then when I get into the middle of the street, I can now tell that Plan C is also doomed up ahead. But now I'm in the worst position of all, in the middle of the street, and the light has just changed, so there will be on-coming traffic in a few seconds.
I made a quick decision to cut straight across the opposing lanes before that traffic can reach me, and I get myself up on the sidewalk, where I can stop and gather my wits about me. I have just been very, very lucky and very, very stupid. I was doing the very things that I think cyclists shouldn't do, and I was fortunate not to have to pay a more serious price than simple guilty thinking.
And it all had to do with my well developed sense of confidence. I feel so connected to the bike, and I know how to power up quickly, and I've maneuvered through some sticky situations before. All of these factors clouded my thinking and I now believe I sort of thought I was invincible out there -- a very dangerous mindset.
University Avenue at rush hour is not a very prudent place to be riding my bike, let alone trying something that I've only seen twenty-something folks on messenger bikes do on UTube.
I will probably take a ration of "stuff" from this post and probably deserve it, but I tell you what -- it won't be happening again any time soon! Tempting fate once and getting away with it is good. Tempting fate twice is fool-hardy!